ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  bruno barreto

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  87 minutes

RELEASED  -  21 march 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  miramax pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  view from the top

view from the top - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from view from the top at

buy the dvd from view from the top at

a small-town woman tries to achieve her goal of becoming a flight attendant.

15 seconds were cut prior to release from a flight attendant training scene in which mike myers made a joke about what to do during a terrorist situation.


picture from view from the top

picture from view from the top

picture from view from the top


one out of four possible stars

It's certain that Gwyneth Paltrow has presented superior work to film audiences in the past and it's a good bet that she'll be able to top her performance in the strange airline stewardess film, View From the Top. Though the film has its funny moments and will probably charm about half the viewers by its closing credits, the movie is not representative of what the actors and actresses are capable of in front of the camera. The fault lands almost squarely in the lap of the screenwriter, Eric Wald.

His story is filled with jokes and set-ups that even novice moviegoers would find tired and abused. The story resembles the unrefined plot of a first draft. The dialogue (which usually isn't funny unless it's recited by Mike Myers, who plays a teacher at "Flight Attendant School") could have used some sprucing up in nearly every scene. Near the end, the characters finally begin to show some warmth and permit the audience to become interested in their collective plight. But overall, Paltrow and company just can't pick up the slack left in the storyline by Wald.

Perhaps it was an overzealous editor that cut out too many scenes that would have given the story more weight or sensibility. Allowing for the fact that the film is first and foremost a comedy (with elements of a romantic comedy hidden in there somewhere), the film still takes quite a long time to endear its characters to the audience. The last scene of the film will probably make most viewers smile, but it's a good thing the film is so short, because with the lack of required "quirky" material in the film, the heart of this film is what will make it an enjoyable experience.

Provided one is a fan of either the actors or the genre. Which begs the question: what genre is this film? While it certainly projects the attitude that would label it a comedy, it's still more confusing as to why the story didn't take a more interesting path to the conclusion. Filmmakers can be forgiven their faults in story if the characters (or actors, rather) are appealing to watch. After all, everything currently up on movie screens has been shown more than a few times before. The trick is in making the audience believe they're witnessing something they've never seen before.

Small touches like new camera techniques, well-written dialogue, and beautiful and/or unusual set decoration can ensure that a film without a top-notch story can still procure a large group of fans. Sometimes even a movie with particularly bad dialogue can grab a decent box office take with impressive ancillary elements. But after viewing View From the Top one cannot help but feel that this story has been presented before in a more entertaining fashion. Perhaps the filmmakers would have done well to view films like My Fair Lady or Where the Heart Is, movies that offered the same message in a more convincing fashion.

The message of the film, that one can achieve one's dreams with enough hard work and determination, is a worthy message in and off itself, but people don't go to movies (usually) to be treated to a lecture or lesson. And if they do, the lesson is usually hidden in things like dramatic license and emotional manipulation. But whether the audience recognizes the lesson being offered in View becomes something of minor importance given that the film could have done well with some additional laughs thrown in, since the emotional quotient of the film wasn't always up to snuff.

Many of the jokes in the film seem to have been the result of spontaneous dialogue made up on the day of filming. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing (it can be quite a good development for a script that wasn't as polished as it should have been), in View From the Top, the talent of Mike Myers and Candice Bergen in their minor roles don't have the power to support the entire weight of the film. In their main roles as girlfriend/boyfriend, Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo (who seems not afraid to show off his shorter-than-Paltrow stature in the film) don't always heat up the screen with enough energy.

The last scene between Ruffalo and Paltrow is suitably emotional, but the believability present in that scene should have been present in the entire film. And that sentiment can be applied to the film in general. The audience might leave the theater with a heart-felt appreciation for the characters, but the appreciation is a fight to win and watching the film sometimes takes too much effort. A romantic comedy (if one can consider this film as such) is usually designed to be a pleasurable experience, but View From the Top isn't entertaining enough to carry one's full attention for the fill running time. Quite ironic considering the film (sans credits) is a tidy eighty minutes long.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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